EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you are considering legal action after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, you have probably been researching various courses of action to get compensation that mention filing a claim. The only way for mesothelioma patients to get compensated is by filing a claim. A mesothelioma claim can be made by individuals or attorneys representing people diagnosed with mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos. Understanding the difference between different types of claims available to you and what each type of claim involves is important to understand so that you can make the best choice for yourself and your family.
What Exactly is a Claim?
A claim is simply a step in the legal process, whereby a claimant (victim) or their legal counsel name the person, party or business at fault for harming them and asks them to pay a dollar amount. Once an asbestos claim is made, the defendant named in the claim has a set amount of time to answer the claim (which varies by state) and either pay the amount, settle with the plaintiff out of court, or refute the claim thereby starting the trial process.
What Type of Claims Can You File for Mesothelioma?
There are many type of claims available for mesothelioma patients and family members. The type of claim or claims you are eligible to file depends on several factors: exposure site, duration of exposure, level of negligence, amount of suffering, and whether the person exposed to asbestos is still alive.
It’s important to remember that you may be eligible to file more than one type of claim. For example, a veteran exposed to asbestos from changing gaskets in a boiler room may be eligible for a VA claim. The same veteran could also file a claim against the company that manufactured the gaskets containing asbestos. The type of mesothelioma claim varies with the individual circumstances of every case.
Types of claims available include:
- Personal Injury Claims
- Wrongful Death Claims
- VA Claims
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
A personal injury claim for mesothelioma from asbestos exposure can be made in civil court, and each state’s civil code governs claims made within that state. Civil code varies across the country, which means the statute of limitations for claims is different from state to state. Other claim variations include the recognition of contributory negligence, comparative fault, jurisdiction requirements, and caps on settlement amounts.
A personal injury claim is typically filed by a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma, but family members can continue to pursue or initiate an injury claim on behalf of a deceased victim.
A wrongful death claim may be filed by surviving family members of a victim who lost their battle with this terrible cancer. People who can file a mesothelioma wrongful death claim include spouses, children, partners, legal trustees, adopted children, legal heirs, executors specified in a will, and other dependents. Damages that can be requested in a wrongful death lawsuit include lost companionship, loss of financial support and stability, mental anguish, lost consortium, and suffering.
VA claims are financial benefits available for people exposed to asbestos in the military, then later diagnosed with mesothelioma. The United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs oversees and regulates military asbestos claims. A VA claim is not a lawsuit, you are not suing the government. VA claims are nontaxable payments for veterans with disabilities, and mesothelioma is recognized by the US government as a disability caused by exposure while serving in the military. Types of VA claims for mesothelioma include:
- VA Disability Compensation. Disability compensation is a nontaxable benefit for people injured while serving in the military or that develop illness later as a result of military service. VA disability compensation claims are to compensate veterans for their time off work and lost wages from their disability (in this case mesothelioma cancer)
- VA Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC). VA DIC Claims are benefits for family members of veterans who die during active duty or training, and for survivors of veterans who died later as a result of disabilities from serving in the military. DIC claims can be either a one time monetary award or income based benefits for claims made by parents.
- Special Monthly Compensation (DIC). Special Monthly Compensation mesothelioma claims, also known as aid and attendance pay, are available for veterans, spouses, family members, and parent or family caregivers to help with the ongoing cost of care for disabilities from military service. For people with mesothelioma from exposure in military shipyards, boiler rooms, or while building asbestos-laden barracks, SMC compensation can help with monthly costs of personal care including in-home nurses, physical therapists, and other care attendants.
Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claims
Mesothelioma trust fund claims are available from companies that manufactured products containing asbestos, mined asbestos, or that exposed workers to asbestos. There are many mesothelioma trust funds across the country, but you can only file a claim against the trust fund set up to fund victims responsible for your exposure.
When mesothelioma litigation first started, companies facing constant lawsuits attempted to file for bankruptcy protection, evading payment to deserving victims. Unfortunately some of the first few companies that did this were successful until the U.S. lawmakers passed an amendment to update the law, protecting current and future victims owed compensation from claims. US Code Chapter 11-Bankruptcy § 524(g) requires companies filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to offset litigation through reorganization to create a trust fund. An asbestos trust fund is created in situations like this, that:
“is to assume the liabilities of a debtor which at the time of entry of the order for relief has been named as a defendant in personal injury, wrongful death, or property-damage actions seeking recovery for damages allegedly caused by the presence of, or exposure to, asbestos or asbestos-containing products”.
Some of the most well-known trust funds include US Thorpe Insulation, Johns Manville, Owens Corning, and Eagle-Picher Industries. Attorneys at Baron & Budd were involved in negotiations for some of the largest asbestos trust funds including W.R. Grace ($3 billion), United States Gypsum Company ($3.9 billion), and Halliburton ($4 billion).
What’s the Difference Between a Mesothelioma Claim and a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma claim is a step that initiates the legal process, basically starting a lawsuit. Once you file a claim, the person you allege blame and compensation from can either contact your lawyer and offer an out-of-court settlement, agree to pay the amount requested, or fight the claim by filing a counterclaim and starting a trial lawsuit.
Do You Have to File a Lawsuit? Sometimes, but not always. With most VA claims and trust fund claims you never file a lawsuit, just paperwork. Your attorney can help you negotiate the most compensation from your claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File an Asbestos Claim?
While it is possible to file an asbestos claim on your own, you will be fighting yourself out of a hole the entire time. Regardless of which type of claim or claims you file for, mesothelioma cases are complex and you should hire an experienced attorney. Call 866-723-1890 to schedule a consultation with our law firm. We will discuss your case and see if you can file a mesothelioma claim for compensation.